The Pequabuck River Watershed Association invited community members to gather at the Bristol Public Library for the third annual water awareness event, on Saturday, Jan. 26.
The event was themed around a central question, “Do we believe water is a public trust?” The Public Trust Doctrine holds that certain natural resources – like water – are preserved in perpetuity for public use and enjoyment.
Joining the PRWA were several environmental organizations, including the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Protect our Watersheds Connecticut, the Sierra Club of Connecticut, the Farmington River Watershed Association, Save Our Water Connecticut, and CREA [Center for Reflection, Education, and Action].
PRWA president, Mary Rydingsward, explained that the groups had gathered in order to talk “to people about regional and state issues that impact all of us, specifically around the climate crisis and the role that water plays in the climate crisis.”
“We understand that the real way to mitigate the climate crisis is through policy and so we want folks to organize and effect policy because it’s a crisis and so we need that level of action,” said Rydingsward. “We’ve gathered organizations here who only do advocacy so that people can get to know what policies they want passed.”
Each organization had time to talk to attendees about their initiatives, such as PWRA intern Ashlynn Jefferson, a senior at Bristol Eastern High School, who had a display regarding composting and the related benefits.
Jefferson explained that her interest in composting began about a year ago while researching the topic for an AP Environmental Science project. At the time, her teacher revealed to her that BEHS had a compost pile.
“No one knew it was there because it was so overgrown,” said Jefferson, who explained that after cleaning up the existing compost pile, she is currently in the process of making one three times as large, which would be situated in the BEHS lunch courtyard.
After learning about local initiatives and projects, attendees were invited to watch a screening of the film, “Water and Power: A California Heist,” which Rydingsward said “shows the organization of California’s politics, which is really centered around their water districts, and California has water contracts, and how those water contracts became controlled by corporations.”
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